Grandfather Dines With Memorial to Late Wife at Wedding, Melts Our Hearts
"Pawpaw sat and ate with mawmaw."
On July 6th, Sahrah Elswick, 20, married Zachery Elswick, 21, at an intimate ceremony in the backyard of her husband's grandparents' house in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
One of the chairs was reserved for Sahrah's late grandmother, Barbara Gray, who had passed away in May 2017 from colon cancer. It was adorned with some cherished photos of her, as well as a framed message that read, "We know you would be here today if heaven wasn’t so far away."
"I wanted to include her because she was always such an important person in my life and I don’t think I could have even had a wedding without her 'there' in some way," Sahrah told Best Life.
Her late grandmother and her 71 year-old grandfather, Billy Gray, had been together for 45 years before she passed away.
"My grandpa helped with the trash run in their home town and he went to their house to pick up her garbage and she was outside," Sahrah said, when asked how they met. "He thought she was the most beautiful woman and asked her what her name was and he says the rest is history."
So when she saw him sitting next to the tribute they had set up for her, it immediately drove her to tears.
"I had to have a guest at my wedding get a picture because I completely broke down when I saw what he was doing," she said. "It was the most pure thing I have ever seen and it completely broke my heart."
On Sunday, Sahrah shared the touching photos on Twitter, where they quickly gained more than 18,000 retweets in just two days.
Pawpaw sat and ate with mawmaw today at my wedding 🥺 pic.twitter.com/GEXWMCfgXB
— Sahrah Elswick (@sahrahMichelle) July 7, 2019
People were so moved that they began sharing their own stories of the ways they included lost loved ones in major life events.
My nan passed away 3 years ago, and at my aunt's wedding over New year's, there was a table set up for her next to the main table. My grandad stared at it for a good 10 minutes and kissed her portrait. I hope you had a wonderful wedding and I'm sure she was so proud
— grace (@ohdeary1) July 7, 2019
And while Sahrah wasn't expecting the photos to gain so much attention, she's glad they've received the response that they have.
"Everyone seems to be so touched by his small act of love, it warms my heart. Everyone deserves someone who would do the same thing as my grandfather did without looking for any sort of attention. I want to photo to send the message that love never dies."
For more on the enduring power of love, don't miss the 40 Secrets of Couples Who've Been Married 40 Years!